Faces in squares

I went back to work. I didn’t go anywhere, I just got out a different laptop. I have three computers and each one has a distinct purpose. The work computer isn’t mine, it’s on loan. I can get anything from any computer with my phone because I keep everything in the cloud. I work at a desk by the bed. I work in the cloud.

The cloud isn’t a real cloud, it’s a server farm I will never see that stores my files. I use a cellular network or radio waves to access these files through the internet. In fact the cloud and the internet are basically the same thing. The cloud is just where you put stuff you want to retrieve on the internet. None of these concepts makes any sense to me. Though I never got digital clocks either.

I work in the cloud at a desk by the bed in the early morning dark. By the Christmas lights hung in the back yard blurred by snow. The lights are on a timer and light up starting at 4 because that’s when I get up. I do my stretching, my shower, my coffee, then get in the cloud.

Today I was writing about 5G when my screen froze. I tried all my tricks to get it to un-stick but nothing worked. I took a picture of the screen with my phone in case I lost my work then did a hard power down which means I just held the power down until the thing turned off. And then I waited the 10 seconds you wait for all the little fairies in the machine to get back in line and start working again. And when I turned it back on lo and behold, it was still there. Because my work was saved in the cloud.

Yesterday I led my first client call since July but when I started talking no one could hear me and I had to think quick, pull the external speaker out of the port and talk through my laptop mic instead. And it worked. But it rattled me because I couldn’t access my second monitor or see the expressions on my clients’ faces or get IMs from colleagues who were trying to offer me advice but I didn’t see any of that, I just kept going. And it was fine.

I go back and watch the meeting recording (it’s saved in the cloud) and get to the part where my mic drops but oddly it works on the recording. It’s weird because the recording picks up my voice but no one can hear me on the meeting. I hear my voice talking through the speaker but it doesn’t sound like me. Our faces freeze and look jagged and sometimes don’t seem real.

I get into bed and drift off. Down by 8, up by 4. I reach for my phone in the dark and the power cord feels like a human thing, like it’s got blood coursing through it. My phone has a little flashing lightning bolt symbol that’s painted green. The dull light illuminates my face with that digital glow. It is an amazing time to be alive, to be here in our bodies and everywhere else too. When I dream the images sometimes linger in the early morning dark. They float back in shades and pass on by. All of this must be stored inside of me too. I am so close to it and yet so removed. We are all here passing through.

Categories: Memoir, prose, writing

Tags: , ,

17 replies

  1. As I reached these words the light of my screen changed: ‘The dull light illuminates my face with that digital glow.’ It was strangely touching in the way cloudy coincides are.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m good, Bill.
    Your life sounds a little austere at the moment – yoga, cold showers, cloud next to bed.

    Happy December to you too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this one. Very surreal. “I work in the cloud at a desk by the bed in the early morning dark. By the Christmas lights hung in the back yard blurred by snow.” Timely, poignant, poetic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. None of my computer activity being “work” (all personal) I’ve avoided the cloud storage lure – thus far. But I don’t really trust the backup service, which is essentially putting my stuff in the cloud for me. Reading this I have a tinge of readiness to get-with-it … so thanks for the nudge. You make “remote” mysterious and a bit alluring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jazz! If you use email it’s basically the same thing right? Cloud-based, access anywhere. Many continue to be distrusting as you sound yourself, and that makes sense. I’m no “cloud advocate” per se, more of a follower in that realm.
      Kind of amazes me though. And I’ve been writing and learning recently about the cloud “edge,” which I considered going into here but figured I’d save for another time and place. Nutsoid. Hope you’re well and nice to see you again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yup – email, blogs, social media all “cloud-based” … My reluctance is relative to things I want to keep indefinitely and have access to anytime including camped in a no-connection zone. Wanting the best of both worlds I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Struggling with that same issue now with like 80GB of old photos that don’t live on the cloud but on an old Mac. Bet I’m not alone in that.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed the paragraph structure. Like postcards or screen shots. But not frozen, rather skating away on the river. Nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so vain I’ve got clouds in my coffee.
    Jaunty piece, this.

    Liked by 1 person

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